So I left head-fi a while back due to financial reasons but now things have come around for me and I'm seriously thinking about repurchasing a bit of equipment. I had to sell all my gear previously which was a half decent portable rig for it's time - 5.5gen iMod, iQube V1, ALO vcap dock, Alessandro MS2is and various interconnectors. I currently use a pair of HD25 I-IIs straight from my MacBooks line out and it's made me think that i really don't have the need for a portable rig anymore but a desktop rig maybe my thing. I looking to repurchase the MS2i just because i do miss the airiness of them but then again it's my only experience of open back headphones (besides the PX100).
Has anyone got any suggestions for an AMP/DAC that'll be able to run some half decent cans? The AKG 701s are still on my list to try and also the HD600 just because i've heard so many great things - i know a lot has changed since i've last been on here but have seen i can pick these cans up for a lot cheaper now. I'd like something that i can connect via USB and that'll bypass all the MacBooks dac/amp circuitry.
Currently looking at the "Maverick Audio TubeMagic D1" and "Audioengine D1 Premium 24-Bit DAC" even the "audio quest dragonfly" has been getting my curiosity going - there was a Nuforce HD thing i saw too but a little bit pricey i think. Something neutral but not sterile. My price range is around the £300 ($500) mark but ideally if theres something cheaper that has 80% of the audio quality that'll be ideal.
Anyways all suggestions welcome, thank you for your time.